Saint Matthew, Tyrone, Parishioner Recalls Journey to the Catholic Church


Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of stories highlighting individual and family journeys to the Catholic faith. Lindsay Pullara was brought into Full Communion with the Church at the 2019 Easter Vigil at Saint Matthew Parish in Tyrone by Reverend Jozef Kovacik, Pastor. Susan Burkholder, the Christin Initiation Director, reached out to Lindsay to share her journey with us. For more information about Christian Initiation, please contact Jeanne Thompson at

By Lindsay Pullara
For Proclaim!

My name is Lindsay Pullara. I am 42 years old. I am a wife, mother, daughter, and friend, and I value that description.  I have owned a dance studio for 17 years and have been teaching dance for 23 years. I love teaching and watching children grow in spirit, dance, and life. I feel blessed that God has led me in my career path with something that brings me so much joy every day.

I have been married 11 years and my family is my greatest gift. I was raised Methodist and went to Sunday school through ninth grade. I was baptized and confirmed in sixth grade. I grew up in Altoona and had many Catholic friends.

As an adult I was introduced to Catholicism again by my husband, but I believe my journey really started when I had kids. I attended Mass at one Altoona parish sporadically and was married there, but after we moved to Tyrone, I began to attend Mass at Saint Matthew Parish in Tyrone. From my first experience and after listening to Father Jozef’s homily, I finally felt like I had found my home. I felt the love that Saint Matthew’s gives everybody with a sense of belonging and community, faith, family, and friendship. I found myself learning so much and opening my mind and heart in so many ways.

My son attended pre-school at Saint Matthew, and as time went on we were members of the parish. My oldest daughter was going to be making her First Holy Communion in April 2019, and I knew it was a journey I would be interested in sharing with her so I signed up for RCIA.  It was hard at times, with a full-time job raising two elementary school age kids, having family and friends to carve out time for all the extras but it was 100% worth it.

Tara Naylor was my sponsor, and she was there for me every step of the way. This was a time in my life that my intense desire to learn more about the Catholic Church grew and grew. I pursued many conversations with my husband, Catholic friends and especially my sponsor. I know these would not have taken place before I began the RCIA process.

Susan Burkholder, the parish director, was a wonderful mentor in guiding me through weekly classes, by learning, reading, journaling, and having amazing conversations. I learned so much through the months from her. She carved time out of her busy schedule to meet with me once a week because I work evenings and couldn’t make a class time. I’m grateful for that.

I could feel everyone’s love, support and Faith, not only in me but in our commitment to God, from my Rite of Welcoming at Saint Matthew’s, to the Palm Sunday Retreat hosted by the diocese, and finally my big day during the Easter Vigil.

I feel that people who were born into a Catholic family and baptized as infants in the Catholic Church may not feel as deeply about the Church as they grow up as I do now.  I know that your journey and faith is never ending, and always growing and I look forward to every step as I continue to live this decision I made.

[Photo: Father Jozef Kovacik, Pastor of Saint Matthew Parish in Tyrone, Lindsay Pullara (center), and Tara Naylor.]